NIH study finds that coffee drinkers have lower risk of death
A NIH study has found that people who drank coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, had a lower risk of death than people who did not drink coffee.
Akinso: Researchers have found an association between coffee drinking and a lower risk of death for older adults. Dr. Neal Freedman, an NIH researcher who helped lead the study, says coffee drinkers in the study were less likely to die from a number of different causes.
Freedman: We saw a very similar association for people drinking both decaffeinated or caffeinated coffee.
Akinso: Dr. Freedman and his colleagues examined the association between coffee drinking and risk of death in 400,000 U.S. men and women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.
Freedman: So over the course of our study we found that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and infections but not for cancer. So for cancer we observed no association for women but for men there was a borderline statistically significant increased risk with higher amounts of coffee consumed.
Akinso: Dr. Freedman points out that coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk of death has been unclear.
Freedman: We found that over the course of our follow up people who drank coffee had a lower risk of death than people who didn't drink coffee.
Akinso: He believes these results do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health. But the question remains, does coffee actually make people live longer?
Freedman: Not necessarily I should say. So our study is observational which means that at the start of the study we asked people about their coffee drinking and other habits. And then we followed them over time. And so we're not sure that coffee, itself, is actually having the effect and maybe something that goes along with coffee drinking.
Akinso: Dr. Freedman adds that coffee contains more than 1,000 compounds that might potentially affect health. The investigators caution that coffee intake was measured by self-report at a single time point and therefore might not reflect long-term patterns of intake. Also, information was not available on how the coffee was prepared, for example as espresso, boiled or filtered. The researchers consider it possible that preparation methods may affect the levels of any protective components in coffee. For more information on this study, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, visit www.cancer.gov. For NIH Radio, this is Wally Akinso— NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Neal Freedman
Topic: Coffee, cancer, heart, disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory, death
Additional Info: NIH study finds that coffee drinkers have lower risk of death